Guest blog post by Daniel Servante

I have always really enjoyed collaborating with others, be it the many bands I started as teenager, group research projects at university, co-op gaming online in the evenings or building a career in face to face fundraising give me people, and I am happy. Having the confidence to try something new isn’t always easy, but the best punt I ever took was knocking on a stranger’s door, aged 21, and saying “Hello, have you got a moment to talk?”

I immediately fell in love with fundraising; the incredible causes I was able to represent, the inspiring impact of each conversation I had, the soft skills I was rapidly developing without even noticing. All this immeasurably built my confidence both professionally and personally. Of course, more than anything, I stuck with fundraising for the incredible people who gave me these opportunities and put their all into doing a very difficult yet vital job every day.

Collaboration and Confidence

Fast forward 5 years, I’m at a major fundraising agency managing sites and I saw a few key problems that needed urgent attention. One was sustainability of access, as we often saw the plug pulled on charity bookings after a single piece of negative feedback from customer or staff member. Sometimes the complaints were fair, often they were not, but either way the site management usually saw no option but to ban all charities until further notice they did not have any monitoring or quality control processes in place, and did not seek to implement them.

The second problem was a lack of accountability for the quality of private sites and rates being charged. When I discussed private sites with peers in the sector we often found we had all been sold the same unworkable site one after another, all being told how popular it was. We also found that rates were being inflated at the most in demand sites as we were played off against each other for bids to secure them. All in all, we were navigating quite choppy waters.

We set up Green Light Sites with two goals in mind; to build collaboration and inspire confidence. We shared anecdotal feedback on sites between our clients, and developed an in depth team auditing process (Unicef told us this led to a team achieving their highest sign up rate in 4 weeks). We gained access to new and exciting sites such as Westfield shopping centres, while pushing rates down in other key locations UK wide. Overall we offered huge value to both sides by creating much more sustainable and mutually beneficial booking agreements.

Eight thousand hours later…

When lockdown hit we had the opportunity to reflect, and the necessity to innovate. Returning to face to face was going to be a challenge and we were determined to support the sector that gave us so much on this journey. In part we were well prepped for the new ways of working as we all already worked completely flexible hours from home. This is when our auditing became what it is today. By developing brand new processes we were able to offer our unique auditing product for street, telephone and even door to door teams. We added modules on team management, individual work rate, COVID safety and environmental impact to ensure these reports inspired as much confidence for the fundraisers as it did the venues.

It’s now 4 years later and we have gathered what we believe is the most in depth set of performance and compliance data face to face has yet seen. Overall we’ve observed over 8000 hours of fundraising since then (3300 of those last year) and the incredible ambition, professionalism and determination of fundraisers in the UK is plain to see. For example, last year our clients generated a third of the number of complaints per donor compared to the industry average. We can’t wait to share and celebrate all this and more with you all at Fundraising Everywhere’s Face to Face and Telephone conference on April 17th. If you’d like a copy of our 2023 benchmarking report please get in touch too.

ve always known F2F fundraisers are some of the most amazing people on the planet, and now I’m delighted to say we have the stats to prove it

Green Light Sites Ltd is a promotional sites and compliance consultancy and service provider, focused on fundraising and ethical marketing campaigns. We offer our clients access to premium space, strategy and planning, ROI modelling, auditing and mystery shopping services.

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